Apple G4 Cube & Cinema Display review

— 5:27 AM on October 25, 2000

While I've never been a big fan of the Apple bashing that goes on here every so often, it's hard not to chuckle at the Apple G4 Cube commercials that are currently running on television. When you see that CD pop up from the Cube, it is hard not to think of an overwrought toaster on its last legs. Would you like that over / easy? While Technological Dissonance quibbled over the iMac's aesthetics, I can still remember when the first Apple computers were plain-jane beige. This changed with the coquettish debutantes, Lisa and Macintosh. With time, style came to be valued over substance. In addition to being a marketing slogan, "think different" has become a lifestyle mantra. Pound for pound, Apple's computers cannot compete with today's best PCs in terms of performance (I won't even mention the 'cracks') but they do have their niche. Ars Technica begins their overture of the G4 Cube and Cinema Display with a thorough dissection of the Cube into its component parts. The review is meticulous and not for the faint of heart. It won't change your mind about Apples but serves to remind us that in this visual-driven age, the media is indeed the message. About a week ago, the New York Times ran a think piece which attempted to take the pulse of the design zeitgeist. This is a small taste of what it said about the stylish G4 Cube:

"Silver makes everything disappear," Andy Warhol remarked apropos the décor of his 47th Street studio. The tone of the G4 nudges this technology-packed device toward immateriality. So does the silence of its fan-less operation. Perhaps this is not, after all, a machine, but a box of emptiness, a chunk of force-field that has been captured from the event-horizon of a black hole and returned to earth, where its power to warp time, space and gravity has been harnessed to serve consumer needs.

The Cube plays off against the infinite variety of forms in which other computers come packaged, and the ceaseless abundance of images that materialize on its dematerialized flat screen. The Cube is a rounded-off Platonic solid. Its speakers play the music of the spheres. On the screen — a veil of pixels — everything is changing, morphing, mutating, pointillistic. The Cube transcends change.

They almost make it sound better than sex. Call these people blowhards, but stylish designs can be pheromonal. Hey, if it is really that good, I just might have to pick one up before the end of this year.

On a related note, Futurelooks goes retro and pits the Osborne1 against the Apple iBook in a raucous catfight.

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